Bio


Liisa H. Malkki is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University. Her research interests include: the politics of nationalism, internationalism, cosmopolitanism, and human rights discourses as transnational cultural forms; the social production of historical memory and the uses of history; political violence, exile, and displacement; the ethics and politics of humanitarian aid; child research; and visual culture. Her field research in Tanzania exlored the ways in which political violence and exile may produce transformations of historical consciousness and national identity among displaced people. This project resulted in Purity and Exile: Violence, Memory, and National Cosmology Among Hutu Refugees in Tanzania (University of Chicago Press, 1995). In another project, Malkki explored how Hutu exiles from Burundi and Rwanda, who found asylum in Montreal, Canada, imagined scenarios of the future for themselves and their countries in the aftermath of genocide in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. Malkki’s most recent book, Improvising Theory: Process and Temporality in Ethnographic Fieldwork (with Allaine Cerwonka) was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2007. Her most recent book-length project (based on fieldwork from 1995 to the present) examines the changing interrelationships among humanitarian interventions, internationalism, professionalism, affect, and neutrality in the work of the Finnish Red Cross in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Academic Appointments


  • Professor, Anthropology

Program Affiliations


  • Modern Thought and Literature

Professional Education


  • Ph.D., Harvard University (1989)

2018-19 Courses


Stanford Advisees


All Publications


  • Improvising theory: Process and temporality in ethnographic fieldwork Malkki, L. H. University of Chicago Press. 2007
  • Signs: Journal of women in culture and society edited by Malkki, L. H., Basu, A., Grewal, I., Kaplan, C. University of Chicago Press. 2001
  • Things to come: Internationalism and global solidarities in the late 1990s PUBLIC CULTURE MALKKI, L. 1998; 10 (2): 431-442
  • Speechless emissaries: Refugees, humanitarianism, and dehistoricization International Workshop on Finding a Place and Space for Culture MALKKI, L. H. AMER ANTHROPOLOGICAL ASSOC. 1996: 377–404
  • Purity and Exile: Violence, Memory, and National Cosmology mong Hutu Refugees in Tanzania Malkki, L. H. Chicago University Press. 1995
  • REFUGEES AND EXILE - FROM REFUGEE STUDIES TO THE NATIONAL ORDER OF THINGS ANNUAL REVIEW OF ANTHROPOLOGY MALKKI, L. H. 1995; 24: 495-523
  • Citizens of Humanity: Internationalism and the Imagined Community of Nations Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies Malkki, L. H. 1994; 3 (1): 41-68
  • NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC - THE ROOTING OF PEOPLES AND THE TERRITORIALIZATION OF NATIONAL IDENTITY AMONG SCHOLARS AND REFUGEES MEETING OF THE AMERICAN ANTHROPOLOGICAL ASSOC MALKKI, L. AMER ANTHROPOLOGICAL ASSOC. 1992: 24–44